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Chapter 1

I began the day much like any other, my alarm blaring loudly in my ear as I sleepily sat up, deeply regretting falling asleep so late again. I checked the time, my eyes bulging out like saucers after realizing the horrific truth. I was late, but not by a fixable amount of time, no, nothing in life could ever be that easy, I thought to myself bitterly as I realized the fact that I was over twenty minutes late. The bus would arrive in less than five minutes. I jumped out of bed and rushed through my morning routine, grabbed my giant instrument and backpack and sprinted down the street, yelling the farewells to my unconscious family all the while. I arrived just as the big yellow vehicle was screeching to a halt. The doors flew open as the line of my peers boarded the bus. I hoisted my instrument up the steep metal steps and took a seat beside my best friend, finally allowing myself to breathe. Chloe was already seated, twirling her flaming orange hair around her pale white finger and staring out the window as if nervous I was going to miss the bus. She wore a pink floral tank top covered in glitter with a flowy bottom like a skirt and light blue jeans. It seemed every one of her outfits had at least a little bit of pink somewhere among the glitter. She had her phone out and was texting with “Josh,” a tall senior with gelled brown hair who always wore ripped jeans and t-shirts. I had lost count of how many guys Chloe had a “crush” on, but I was pretty sure Josh was one of the many.

She turned her head, hitting me with her wavy hair. “Wow,” she said. “Did you seriously wear a science t-shirt to school the day of your big speech?” she asked me.

I looked down, realizing she was right. I wore a white science t-shirt tucked into a grey skirt covered in white polka dots and my favorite grey boots. “Okay, first, it’s a debate,” I said, sighing at how little Chloe seemed to pay attention at times. “And second, what’s wrong with that?”

She sighed. “You’ve been the kind‘a pretty nerdy girl’ for five years now. Don’t you want to change things up?”

I ignored her question and asked, “did you just call me kind’a pretty?” I knew this would annoy her but I didn’t feel like sitting through another one of her long-winded lectures about the boys in my classes and how they only noticed girls who cared about their looks. I wasn’t sure whether I agreed with her or not, but either way, I didn’t care, or at least I acted like I didn't.

She groaned and spent the rest of the ride talking about Josh, who apparently had asked for her number, which, according to “Chloe-logic” meant he liked her. I resisted the urge to tell her that he probably just needed her number for the project they happened to be working on together, but I didn’t think that would help. Instead, I rolled my eyes and focused on finding a way to hide from my debate, twirling the necklace my sister had gotten me when we were young as I thought nervously.

After arriving at school, Chloe accompanied me to the band room, where I put my giant instrument before rushing to my first class once the bell rang.

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